A protester is detained by Turkish police during a demonstration against the detention of hunger-striking teacher Semih Ozakca and literature professor Nuriye Gulmen in Ankara on October 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
’s Interior Ministry says more than 1,200 people have been arrested over the past week on suspicion of links to terrorist groups.
The ministry said Monday that the bulk of those arrested, a total of 947 people, had links to Fethullah Gueln, the US-based cleric whom Ankara blames for the July 2016 coup attempt.
It said 205 suspects had ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey says has intensified its militant attacks against civilians and security forces over the past two years.
The ministry added that 49 of those arrested were detained over links to Daesh, a Takfiri group mainly operating in neighboring Syria and Iraq which has claimed several high-profile attacks in Turkey over the past years.
Nine suspects had links to “leftist terrorist groups,” said the Interior Ministry, without elaborating.
More than 50,000 people have been arrested in Turkey since a state of emergency was imposed after the failed coup. Turkish authorities have also suspended or sacked three times the number of those arrested.
Gulen has denied any involvement in the coup, warning that the crackdown on his supporters is part of a broader plot by the Turkish government to silence dissent.
Rights groups have also voiced similar concerns about the post-coup crackdown, while accusing Ankara of using the fight against the PKK to suppress its large population of Kurds, who mostly live along Turkey’s eastern and southern borders.